Last night I watched the movie, The Anatomy of Hate, A Dialog of Hope. This film looks at the social context for hate groups and the fear that motivates them. After viewing the film there was a question and answer session with the filmmaker, Mike Ramsdell. One thing he talked about was how we as social groups create walls of fear that separate us from other social groups and prevent us from seeing them as we see ourselves.
We have to walk this maze of fear to get through our day-to-day lives, to interact with those that are other then ourselves. But we also have to walk through the maze of fear to look inside, at things we hide from ourselves. To see into our own hearts we need to move around the walls and look at what hides inside.
Being fearless is not about not feeling the fear but about being able to move past it, through it or around it without letting it exert too much pressure on our actions or letting us act in violation of our values. It is when we let fear control us, consciously or unconsciously, that we tend to make decisions that take us from the path we choose to walk in life.
We must, therefore, be aware of our fear and recognize it for what it is. We must understand it and see if it is rational fear (as in fear of lions) or if it is irrational ( a fear of all cats large and small.)It is ok to react to the rational fears, the voices that help us avoid real pain, death and injury, things that can actually happen. But we must not let the irrational fear, the fear of the possibility of pain or death makes us act in ways that are not in line with who we wish to be.